KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 – More than 100 members of the Bar Council today called in its president Christopher Leong to retract his statement on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial or resign. According to their spokesman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahman, Leong must also tender an unequivocal and unconditional public apology to the judiciary, international bodies and other entities.
“If he fails to withdraw the statement within a reasonable period (14 days), we shall take all necessary steps to call for his immediate resignation from the position as president (of the Bar Council) and call upon the Attorney-General to take the necessary contempt proceedings against him.
“If he made the statement in his personal capacity, that is okay with us, but in his capacity as the president or representing the Bar Council,” he said told a press conference here today. Prior to this, Leong had been quoted by the local media as saying that Anwar was ‘persecuted, not prosecuted’ when the Federal Court on Feb 10 affirmed his sodomy conviction and five-year jail sentence by the Court of Appeal.
Meanwhile, another of the members with Abdul Aziz, Datuk Mohd Noor Amin, stated that the stand and public statement made by Leong was against the fundamental and statutory duties of the Malaysian Bar Council which include the protection of the integrity and sanctity of the judiciary.
“In one breath Leong admits having not read the judgement of the Federal Court, and yet in the same breath, the day after Federal Court decision, he makes disparaging remarks that the judgement of the Federal Court was without any basis in law, by referring to media reports of the trial solely,” he said.
On Feb 10, Anwar lost his final appeal against the conviction and five-year jail sentences after the Federal Court rejected his appeal. Anwar was sentenced to five-year jail at the Sungai Buloh prison, here. The Court of Appeal found Anwar, 67, guilty of sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan at unit 11-5-1 of Desa Damansara Condominium in Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara between 3.10 pm and 4.30 pm on June 26, 2008.